Google How Long It Takes for Disavow File to Affect Rankings?

John Mueller was asked in a hangout about an example of when Google’s Disavow tool produced a bad outcome. They uploaded a disavow file to remove bad links, but within days their rankings collapsed.

Mueller answered the various questions and then addressed the timing between uploading the disavow and the ranking changes, in the process revealing how long it takes for Google to work the contents of a disavow into their algorithm.

Disavow Tool Caused Ranking Collapse Within Days?

One of the most popular ideas in SEO is whether using the disavow tool is a negative signal. Chief among these are how long it takes to get rid of this “black mark” for using the disavow tool.

Google’s John Mueller affirmed that there was no penalty for using the disavow tool.

“No there is not any kind of penalty or black flag or mark or anything associated with using the disavow tool.”

Google’s John Mueller assured a publisher that links in a disavow tool don’t indicate past bad behavior. He said this because sometimes those links are just the ones that publishers are worried about, not necessarily bad behavior.

No Need to Use Disavow Tool for Random Links

Mueller next reassured the publisher (as he has many other times) that the disavow tool doesn’t need to be used for random links that are discovered.

He did recommend the use of the tool for links that look like the publisher might be responsible for.

Does Disavow Tool Impact SERPs Within Days?

I’ve heard many people claim that uploading a disavow file can result in an immediate change to ranking. My response is that the disavow tool may have contributed to this, but it’s not the only factor. It makes sense that other factors could be at play here.

This is what John Mueller says about how long it takes to process Disavow Tool data into rankings:

“With regards to this particular case, where you’re saying you submitted a disavow file and then the ranking dropped or the visibility dropped, especially a few days later, I would assume that that is not related.”